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Vladimir Sevcik


  • born in 1949 in Brno, Czech Republic
  • immigrated to Canada in 1986
  • studied at the University of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic (1969-1971)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Painter Vladimir Sevcik was studying at the University of Fine Arts in Prague when he was expelled, in 1971, for showing photorealist paintings unacceptable to the Academy. While teaching art in the former Czechoslovakia he continued to paint high realism on his own, but as the government control over art practice grew it became increasingly difficult for him to function as an artist of any kind. Finally, he and his family fled to Canada in 1985, settling in Edmonton, Alberta. Creating large, often four by six feet, detailed re-creations of life, Sevcik's technique of free-hand airbrush requires a great deal of time and patience, since the rendering of such detail is time-consuming, even more so with such large works. A painter mainly of city streets and other urban scenes, he has been likened to Christopher and Mary Pratt, and to John Hall because of his realist approach and interest in images of everyday life. Mark Walton (1995) has pointed out the recurring theme of traffic symbols in Sevcik's work, and his own temptation to interpret these in terms of Sevcik's experience with communist oppression, but the artist maintains that he seeks out ordinary objects, painting any images that linger in his mind. Since his arrival in Canada he has had a number of exhibitions in British Columbia and Alberta, but is only just beginning to resume his career while still working as a janitor, as he did for several years following his immigration. Having left the communist regime behind, Sevick has been "freed from one form of dictatorship [but] is currently in the midst of a quieter slower tyranny of unacceptance" in Canada (Derrick Denholm, 1993). For Sevcik, the choice of a realist painting style has been simple, even if it is not always favoured by the critics: "I came from an artistic environment where, in my estimation, eight out of every ten artists were doing conceptual art . . . . I am one of the artists who do not consider this artistic philosophy progressive and challenging any longer. Instead of investigations, experiments, installations and concern with questions of social, political, cultural and historical context . . . . I use only so-called 'sentimental technology': I paint. I leave investigations and experiments to science" (quoted in Denholm, 1993).



1996 In and Out of Focus
Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, British Columbia

Maple Ridge Art Gallery, British Columbia

Virginia Christopher Galleries, Calgary, Alberta


1995 Red Deer and District Museum, Red Deer, Alberta

Recent Paintings
McMullen Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta


1994 Contemporary Realism
Virginia Christopher Galleries, Calgary, Alberta

Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton, Alberta


1993 The Works Festival
Hudson Bay Centre, Edmonton, Alberta



1995 Profiles Gallery, St. Alberta, Alberta

Opperthauser Gallery, Stony Plane, Alberta


1993 Manulife Place, Edmonton, Alberta



Boulding, Wendy. "The camera does not lie." C Magazine (May 4 1995): n.p.

Denholm, Derrick. "Realist Classicism of the 1990s." C Magazine (July 14 1993): n.p.

Walton, Mark. "Liberated art: The photorealism of Vladimir Sevcik." Artfocus 3, no. 3 (Spring/Summer 1995): 8-9.


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